Good Times

purple fireworks effect
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This time of year we spend our Friday evenings at the pool club where we are members. There are two large pools, plus a kiddie pool. The pool is staffed with life guards. There is a snack bar and regular bar, The Deep End, that serves a variety of food and drinks. There is a large, shaded picnic area, and an even larger grounds that include a playground, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and more. We find a table in the picnic area, I head to the bar to open a tab, and the kids can run free around the grounds. We meet our friends there, hang out talking, swimming, drinking, eating, playing.

Yesterday (as I write this) was the last day of the school year for our kids and around 3pm, I headed over the pool with the girls, to get a table. It was a good thing I did. I’ve never seen the pool as crowded as it was yesterday. It was hot–well into the 90s–and everyone decided to head to the pool to swim, barbecue, and hang out with friends. I found a table in the shade, and within an hour getting there, all of the picnic tables were taken. I’ve never seen that happen in all the years we’ve been members.

We saw many of the Friday evening crowd there. We also met friends there that we hadn’t seen in a long time, and it was great catching up. While I was waiting at the table for everyone to show up, while the kids were off swimming and playing, I put on a playlist and found myself listening to music from my junior and senior years in high school. Those were good times. I would meet my friends at various places in the San Fernando Valley on Friday or Saturday evenings: Corbin Bowl was a popular spot. Or maybe we’d meet at the movies. Or someone’s house. It was the late 1980s and there were no smart phones, which in retrospect make things seem even better. We were all young, sixteen or seventeen. We had a good-sized group. Many of the people in that group are still among my best friends today.

I sat there, listening to the music (three songs in particular remind me of this time: “Hysteria” by Def Leppard “Broken Hearts” by Living Colour, and “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty), and thinking about how those were good times. part of it is the rose-colored haze through which I see that period of my life. Part of it is that I had no adult responsibilities. Whether or not I’d finished my homework, or studies for a particular test were among my biggest concerns in life. Too often, we don’t recognize the good times, even as we live through them.

As I was thinking about that, I looked around me. Kids were swimming, playing, running around. Adults circled picnic tables, pouring from pitchers of beer into clear plastic Solo cups. Some of the scattered grills had fires or hot coals. The smell of a variety of food was in the air. I saw familiar faces, friends, family. We talked and joked, drank some beer and other spirits, ate fried foods. I realized that I was living through good times, and this was one example of it. Fifteen or twenty years from now, when the kids are out on their own, I could see myself looking back on these Friday nights at the pool the same way I look back on Friday nights at Corbin Bowl. Except now, I recognized as a good time even as it unfolded in front of me.

Yesterday was hot and humid. This morning, I awoke to temperatures in the upper 60s and breezy. Also crystal clear and dry. My morning walk felt great compared to the heat of yesterday. I got back from my walk, did some writing, and then went for another walk with Zach. We’ve gotten into the habit of walking to our local McDonald’s on Saturday morning and having breakfast together there. On our way back, we ran into Grace and her friend, who were out for a bike ride. When I got home, I decided to take advantage of this amazing weather, by sitting out on the deck and reading more of The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Before that, however, I decided I should write about these good times. After all, this was another one: perfect weather, morning walks, breakfast with my son, reading out on the deck.

With everything going on in the world, it feels good to recognize the good times.

Written on June 18, 2022.

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